When the Biting Surfaces of Your Teeth Begin to Erode
This might be one of those fun facts that you remember from school, but do you happen to know where the strongest and hardest substance in your body is? If you guessed your mouth—well done! Your dental enamel (which coats and protects your teeth) is even stronger than your bones. It's not indestructible, and wear and tear can gradually cause your dental enamel to become thin, or even absent. This is best avoided with proper oral hygiene, along with being careful about the amount of sugar you consume. But some wear and tear is to be expected over the years, and there's a certain part of a tooth that might be affected first.
Your Biting Surfaces
The name is self-explanatory, so you can probably guess where the biting surfaces of your teeth are located. Some biting surfaces are larger than others. Consider the flat biting surface of a molar when compared to the minimal biting surface of an incisor tooth. These are the parts of a tooth that make contact with their opposite equivalent when your mouth is closed. These are also the parts of a tooth that experience the most pressure when you are biting and chewing food. If your dental enamel begins to erode, it's unsurprising that the biting surfaces of teeth can be the first casualty.
If the situation is not remedied, then this deterioration will continue, and the tooth's vertical dimension will be progressively lost until the tooth loses all functionality. Patients in this situation must undergo a process known as bite reclamation, which is actually a number of different procedures that come together to restore a person's bite. Though it's remarkable that dental science can achieve this, it's best avoided. If the biting surfaces of your teeth have begun to erode, they need to be restored.
Indirect Dental Restorations
You're likely to need an indirect restoration in the form of a dental inlay or onlay. These share some similarities with dental crowns, but they don't cover the entire tooth like a crown does. When the restoration fits between a tooth's cusps (the slightly raised outer edges of a tooth), then this is an inlay. When the restoration also encompasses the tooth's cusps, then this is an onlay. They're available in a variety of materials, but porcelain and ceramic are the most common (which will be colour-matched to your teeth).
Applying the Restoration
The tooth must be prepared for the restoration. This can involve the removal of a small amount of extra enamel from the peak of the tooth to ensure the best attachment of the restoration. It will be permanently bonded into place and then becomes a new artificial biting surface of your tooth (that also looks completely natural).
All teeth are important, and all parts of a tooth are important. However, when it comes to wear and tear, it's often the biting surfaces of teeth that are first to be affected. Contact your dentist to learn more.